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Preferential Seating in the Classroom
by Rynette R. Kjesbo, M.S., CCC-SLP
What Is Preferential Seating?
Some students have disabilities that affect their abilities to see, hear, pay attention to, or participate in activities in the same ways as their peers who do not have disabilities. As a result, some students with disabilities are eligible to receive accommodations such as preferential seating. Accommodations are adjustments to the way educational services are delivered to students with disabilities.
Preferential seating means that a student’s seat is placed in a location that is most beneficial for his/her learning in the classroom. For example, if a student is very distractible, his/her seat might be placed away from doors or windows which tend to have more distracting activity. If the student has a visual impairment, his/her seat might be placed closer to the front of the room so that the student can more easily perceive the teacher and visual aids used for instruction (bulletin boards, posters, etc.). A student with a hearing impairment might need a seat closer to the teacher in order to better hear the teacher’s voice. As well, during some activities, such as taking a test, a student who needs preferential seating might take the test (or perform the activity) in another room, separate from his/her peers and the distractions of the classroom.
It is important to note that not each child with a disability needs preferential seating. However, if you feel that your child’s disability keeps him/her from maximizing learning in the classroom, and you feel he/she would benefit from preferential seating, talk to your child’s teacher or IEP (Individualized Education Program) Team.
 
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